Bearded Collie – Complete Dog Breed Information On The Herding Dog

Bearded Collie
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The bubbly and bouncing Bearded Collie is one of Scotland’s loud, energetic, and loyal imports.

The Bearded Collie is known affectionately as the Beardie, the name that comes from the hair that hangs down from the chin and forms a beard.

This animated breed is famous for the “Beardie Bounce” – a hopping yo-yo leap that represents her cheerful, carefree attitude about the world.

Bearded Collie Breed Characteristics Sheet

  • Origin: Scotland
  • Size: Medium-sized
  • Dog Breed Group: Herding group
  • Purebred: Yes
  • Lifespan: 12-14 years
  • Height: Males 20- 22 inches (51- 56 cm) and Females- 20-21 inches(51- 53 cm)
  • Weight: Males 18- 27 Kg(40-60 lbs) and Females 18-27 Kg (40-60 lbs)
  • Coat Appearance: Double coat
  • Coat Colors: Black, Browns, blues, and fawns
  • Temperament: Extrovert, cheerful, friendly
  • Good With Children: Yes
  • Intelligence Level: High
  • Good With Pets: Yes under supervision
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes
  • Grooming: High
  • Shedding: High (seasonal)
  • Barking: Barks when necessary
  • Suitable For Apartments: Low
  • Need For Exercise: High
  • Easy To Train: No
  • Good For First Time Owners: Moderate
  • Health Issues: Allergies, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, auto-immune disease, and some eye problems
  • Litter Size: 4-12 puppies, average -7
  • Average Price: $800 -$1200 (us), £400 – £500 (UK)


Bearded Collie History

This medium sized dog breed originated in Scotland during the Victorian era to herd cattle and sheep in any kind of weather or terrain. Bearded Collie is one of the best-kept secrets of the herding group!

The Bearded Collie is a natural herder, and will not only herd animals but people as well. It was almost wiped out during the Second World War.

The contemporary Bearded Collies exist now mainly due to the work of Mrs. G Olive Willison of England.  In 1944, she bred a pair of Bearded Collies resulting in the resurrection of the breed.

The Bearded Collie has long been known in the Northern England and Scottish Highlands where it was primarily bred for sheep herding.

It is widely considered one of the country’s oldest working breeds dating back to at least the 1600s.

The Beardie is smart, strong, and spirited breed which likes to work, that is why it’s so valued by farmers and it’s no wonder that the Beardie was so popular when it comes to moving cattle.

Bearded Collie Size And Lifespan

Bearded Collie Size

Height – Males –  20- 22 inches (51- 56 cm) and Females – 20-21 inches(51- 53 cm)

Weight – Males – 18- 27 Kg(40-60 lbs) and Females – 18-27 Kg (40-60 lbs)

Bearded Collie Lifespan

The average life expectancy is 12-14 years which places the bearded collie at the high end of the average range for longevity for dogs of a similar size.

It is also unheard of bearded collies to have lived longer than this average. However, the oldest recorded bearded collie reached almost 20 years old!

Is Bearded Collie, The Right Dog For You?

If you want a dog that is…

  • Medium-sized, sturdy, and shaggy
  • Athletic and loves to romp and play
  • Good-natured with everyone
  • A walking buddy and a swimming buddy

Shake hands with a Bearded Collie, this is right for you.

If you don’t want to deal with…

  • Dynamic exercise requirements
  • Wet beards in your lap
  • Frequent brushing and excessive Shedding

Sorry, a Beardie may not be right for you.

What Is The Number One Warning About Beardies?

They’re like roasted peanuts. You can’t stop with just one.

Bearded Collie Coat Color

Coat Color

All Bearded Collies are born in color variations of black, blue, brown or fawn, with or without white markings. When all four colors show up in the same litter, it’s vibrantly called a “rainbow litter.”

Some carry a fading gene and as they grow-up through puppyhood, coats darken (lighten) by the time they are 9 to 12 months old.

The dogs that are born blue and fawn show shades from dark to light. Brown puppies will lighten from deep chocolate to lighter sandy tone.

Dogs without the fading gene have the color with which they were born. The white only occurs as a blaze on the face, head, chest, legs, around the neck and on the tip of the tail.

Tan markings occasionally appear on the inside of the ears, eyebrows, on the cheeks, on the legs where the white joins the main color and under the root of the tail.

Bearded Collie Appearance

A sturdy dog to look at, the Bearded Collie is easily recognizable for its bushy, weatherproof double coat. She has a flat, harsh, strong and shaggy outer coat and a soft, furry undercoat which acts as protection against extreme temperatures.

The lengthy hair on the cheeks, lower lips, and under the chin forms the beard for which she is branded for. Other characteristics include a relatively short muzzle and blaze, full white collar as well as wide-set eyes of a coloration matching the coat.


Bearded Collie Temperament

  • A Beardie is cheerful, confident, happy-go-lucky, tail-wagging humor.
  • Known for their patented “Beardie bounce,” they’ve been described as having Michael Jordan hang time.
  • Like other dog breeds, Beardies come in a range of temperaments, from low-key to lively.
  • She’s an authoritative nanny and a good playmate for children but sometimes may be a bit rude in the presence of small kids. But they are very good family companions.
  • When choosing a Beardie puppy, try to get a Beardie puppy from a breeder who raises the pups in the home and ensure that they are exposed to many different people, household sights and sounds.
  • Puppies with nice temperaments are curious and playful, bond firmly with their people but are not particularly protective or possessive.
  • Choose the middle-of-the-road puppy, not the one who’s hiding in the corner or one who’s beating up his litter-mates.
  • The Beardie is an outdoor as well as an indoor dog. They are quite active outdoors, good at dog sports and will do best with no less than a small-sized yard so that she can run, play and bounce there.
  • They are talented escape artists which means it’s important for homes and gardens to be beardie-proofed
  • They probably are not the best choice for apartment-dwellers, unless daily dog-walkers are part of the picture.
  • They are also good in breezy, harsh or damp areas since these dogs can endure any weather conditions.
  • Watch her diet and make sure she gets plenty of exercises. Regularly brush her teeth and coat, and make sure to adhere to the schedule of examinations and vaccinations.
  • Beardie puppies are sensitive to noise so it’s important to keep the noise levels down when a new puppy arrives in the home.

10 Things To Consider When Feeding A Bearded Collie

  1. Bearded Collies are very energetic and hardworking dogs. You have to consider this activity level when deciding the calorie count for your Bearded Collie, particularly if they are doing any work or training, herding or agility, for instance.
  2. The American bearded collie club has stated that an active adult Bearded Collie of approximately 50 pounds needs 1300 calories daily.
  3. A Beardie that is doing training for a herding test or taking agility training may need up to 2100 kcal/day (50 lb dog)
  4. Puppies need more calories than adult dogs. A Beardie puppy weighing 30 lb needs approximately 900 calories/ daily.
  5. Given that Beardies are not-big dogs, it’s quite easy to get many good dog foods that are suitable for their size.
  6. Avoid grains as they may cause diet-related health issues. Grains offer little to no nutritional benefit for your dog and only pass through.
  7. According to American Bearded Collie Club, allergies are a common occurrence with Bearded Collies. Checking with your vet to identify the trigger(s) can do a world of good for your beardie.

A rough feeding guide

  • Protein content should be anything from 15 – 21%
  • Fiber content should be less than 4%
  • Fat content should be less than 10%
  • Calcium content should be 0.4 – 0.8%
  • Sodium content should be 0.2 – 0.4%
  • Phosphorous content should be 0.4 – 0.6%

And, obviously, keep ample sources of fresh water always for your dog. High protein, Grain-free foods can get the dogs really parched, so maintain the water bowl full.

How To Train A Bearded Collie?

Bearded Collies are smart enough to manipulate their owners.

They generally like to please their owners and training must be fun. However, Beardies do have an independent spirit which makes them challenging to train and take more work.

The very unique ‘Beardie temperaments’ for the training sessions to be easier for you:

  • It is such a smart dog and also an independent thinker.
  • They get easily bored, so keeping the training interesting is important. When done with good attitude and patience, the results of training Bearded Collies can be truly rewarding.
  • Beardies are Friendly and extrovert dogs; they can be easily sidetracked.
  • When they understand that they are delightful, they may try to stage-manage you. When they realize they are in the limelight, they can put on quite a show.
  • They tend to be carefree, cheery, blissful dogs who like almost everyone. However, they are also unique. You would never find a cavalier sleeping in the bathtub, but you might find your Beardie there.
  • They are very insightful dogs and quickly sense their owners’ moods. If your Beardie knows you are getting angry or even mildly irritated during training, it may call it a day.

So where to start?

Your Beardie should be exposed to all types of noises, situations, other dogs and people. Consciously and coolly make your dog get used to as many daily sounds as you can think of.

Take your dog everywhere with you. Visit all your dog friends who will allow your pup in the house and get your dog used to be around other dogs. This will ensure that you won’t have a shy or scared dog.

Promote interaction with persons who you meet en route.

Taking a puppy obedience class is particularly beneficial in early socialization. Your beardie must know that you are in charge.

You must choose the right combination of methods that works best for your dog. We get tired of the same old food day in, day out, so is your Beardie. They perk up if offered a variety of treats, from time to time. Typical motivators are play, praise, treats, toys, and food.

Play hide and seek, run with it. Use your head to make the training fun and exciting.

Try fetching games with your pup using a ball, Frisbee or soft toys. It is a great exercise and teaches your dog to come to you.

Discontinue the training if you are getting angry. Then again, a Beardie may push you as much as you will push.

Bearded Collie Grooming And Shedding

Shaggy dog syndrome – Bearded Collies become a matted mess without frequent brushing.

  • Known for the long facial hair, the bearded collie is a big bushy beast descended from the English sheepdog. Grooming is the key word when it comes to brushing her long, luxurious flowing, double-layered coat.
  • Some owners may find trimming her hair to lessen both the frequency and length of the grooming sessions.
  • Bearded Collies require weekly thrice (at the minimum) brushing to maintain their coats and to prevent the tangles and mats from forming.
  • Bathe the dog every 4-6 weeks, and use good pet-friendly shampoo available from any pet store (use conditioner, if desired).
  • Cleaning their teeth is recommended weekly at least. Use a dog toothpaste and toothbrush (as they will swallow it). Consider having your Beardie’s teeth cleaned by a vet.
  • Having their ears cleaned on a regular basis is important to make sure that debris and wax don’t build up and lead to an infection.
  • Check often for burrs and twigs for an outdoor Beardie. Use your fingers and dust with a cornstarch or powder like talc to help dry them out.

Bearded Collie Shedding

Beardies are, in fact, not so heavy shedders but they shed regularly. Brushing regularly will help in reducing shedding as well as help keep the coat clean and soft.

They shed more heavily at the change of seasons. A heavy shed can be expected yearly once.  During this time, brushing, perhaps, will be required several times a week.

Interesting Facts About Bearded Collie

  • Often called “Beardies,” the breed is also known as the Mountain Collie, Highland Collie, the Hairy Mou’ed Collie, and argle-bargle.
  • This ultimate tail wagger was the official dog of the shepherds in Scotland.
  • Bearded collies were initially bred as working dogs and they are able to endure harshest conditions.
  • It is estimated that eighty-five percent of the beardies visit a vet in a year.
  • The average cost of owning this breed is approximately US$ 13000 over its lifetime.
  • A Gainsborough portrait of the Duke of Buccleuch in 1771 contains the oldest known painting of a Beardie (or any other breed).
  • In The United States, AKC(American Kennel Club) officially recognized the beardies in 1983.
  • In 1989, a female Beardie named Potterdale Classic at Moonhill won best in Show at Crufts, the world’s largest dog show.

Recommended Read: Majestic Names For Your Male Dogs, Cute Names For Female Dogs

Bearded Collie Health Problems

  • Beardies are a generally healthy breed with a lifespan of between 12 -14 years.
  • Health surveys and clinical Studies conducted in several countries have revealed that the leading cause of Beardie’s death is old age, next is cancer.  Kidney failure and cerebrovascular disease are the other top causes of death.
  • Beardies were bred as working dogs in harshest conditions for so many years.  Dogs with frequent health problems would either not have survived or wouldn’t have been bred.
  • The only orthopedic issue which is known to happen in Bearded Collie is hip dysplasia.  Hip dysplasia is caused by a deformity in the hip joint that affects one or both of the hips.
  • It is more often seen in beardies during their middle to later years since erosion or wear and tear contribute to the condition of the joint.
  • Another problem which is unique to Border Collies is that their long coats tend to obscure external parasites such as fleas and ticks.
  • The most common eye disease is cataracts and they are the common cause of blindness in older Bearded Collies. Retinal dysplasia, Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and corneal dystrophy have also been reported.
  • Autoimmune diseases (hypothyroidism, colitis, Addison’s disease, Thrombocytopaenia ) are a concern, as are heart disease (subaortic stenosis) and epilepsy (seizures).
  • Allergies (e.g., flea, airborne pollens, certain dog foods, dust mites etc) cause itchy skin, and ear infections are rather common due to profuse hair in the ear canal.

Bearded Collie Cross

These are some of the popular and recognized hybrid breeds

  • Bearded Collie x Beagle mix = Beacol
  • Bearded Collie x Poodle mix = Beardoodle
  • Dalmatian + Bearded Collie = Bodacion

Bearded Collie Price And Breeders

Bearded Collie Price

The cost to buy a Bearded Collie varies significantly and depends on many factors such as your location, breeders’ reputation, the lineage of the puppy, litter size, breed popularity (supply and demand), training, breed lines and much more.

The current median price for all Bearded Collies sold is $900.00. This is the price you can expect to budget for a Bearded Collie with papers but without show quality or breeding rights.

Puppy without papers can cost lesser, however, we do not recommend buying a puppy without papers.

You should budget anywhere from $1,500- $2000 or even more for a Bearded Collie with top breed lines and a superior pedigree. Genetic testing is even expensive. Seems like a lot of money. But then you can’t put a price on love or for an adorable family member.

Bearded Collie Breeders

Assuming that you have researched about the Bearded Collie and wrapping up that this is the right breed for you, where do you buy one?

  • Do your research before you buy… Enquire about the breeder’s reputation and after sales support. Be aware that flashy ads do not always equate to good business practices or quality puppies. It’s better to stay away from puppy mills, pet stores, and the poor quality breeders.
  • Pet store guarantees often are for only two to thirty days. If pedigrees are available, the sales team knows nothing about the listed dogs. There’s little time for socializing and no way can a salesperson know the one who raised the pup as well as the background.
  • An establishment that mass produces puppies (some ship as many as 1000 a week!) cannot perhaps take the time for the love, attention or a physical care, a private breeder does.
  • Dog shows are a good place to meet responsible breeders. If exhibitors don’t have litters, ask them the contact of someone who does.

Red flags to find a dubious Breeder

  • Charges additional money for registering puppies (the latter is illegal under the Animal Pedigree Act) or sells unregistered puppies.
  • Does not provide pedigree information or know the family history of the parent
  • Cannot provide proof of health screening on both parents.
  • He has no Certificate of vaccination indicating what type of vaccination was administered and by whom.
  • They don’t provide Photocopies of all health certifications for both parents of the puppy. This clearance should include hips, eyes (as a minimum).
  • There is no Written sales agreement. A reputable kennel will provide you with a guarantee (terms vary depending on the individual breeder) when you purchase a puppy.

Finding a good Bearded Collie Puppy from a conscientious, trustworthy breeder may not be easy. Be prepared to wait for some time. Most reputable breeders have a waiting list for their puppies, but keep in mind,  “good things come to those who wait”.